Garden planting in February can still be quite a hard month to have the garden look good in. We are still relying heavily on those evergreen plants to save the day.

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Ilex crenata Convexed Gold

This small evergreen plant, for all intense and purposes, looks just like a ‘golden box’ shrub. It’s not though. It is actually a member of the holly family. Whilst it can be used for hedging, I prefer to plant them in groups of three, five or more, depending on the size of garden. The golden yellow leaves makes for great impact in the garden, especially in the winter months.

Phormium Pink Panther

I love spiky, architectural plants. They make a bold statement and help bring clarity to planting schemes. They do this by providing a break from the normal round or oval shape plants. I particularly love the colours in the leaves of this variety of Phormium. They add a burst of colour and drama, as well as help to show off other plants in the garden.

Choisya ternata Sundance (Golden Mexican orange blossom)

The golden, evergreen leaves of this Choisya plant offer a dramatic burst of colour, vital to cheer up the garden in the dull winter months. In early summer they also have deliciously scented flowers, which makes this plant a great all-rounder. It doesn’t like it too cold though. You also need to be a bit careful about positioning it in full sun, as the golden leaves can be prone to scorching.

Photinia ‘Red Robin’

A very popular evergreen shrub, for good reason. The bright purple foliage of the new growth and the glossy dark green mature leaves, makes this plant always interesting. In the winter, you don’t get as much red, but even so, it’s still good to look at. It makes a great contrast for other plants. Photinias can get quite large, so best situated at the back of garden borders.

Corylus avellana Contorta Red Majestic – (corkscrew hazel)

This is the only non-evergreen on this month’s list. There’s two reasons I’ve chosen this. In February and March the stems are laden with catkins hanging down. The twisted stems, also makes this an interesting plant to look at in the winter months. In the spring, soft, purple leaves burst forth, adding more colour in the garden. It’s quite slow growing, but makes an impressive display once established.

BUT do be warned, plants alone will NOT give you a stunning garden – you have to get the design layout right first. If you don’t know how to do that then…

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Rachel Mathews
Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 25 years. My mission is to de-mystify garden design and make it easy for people to successfully design their own garden - without needing to spend a fortune!

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